Flashback to the mid-1990s, Silicon Valley was pumping out high-tech companies like it was going out of style. Even well into the 21st century, big names like Alphabet, Hewlett Packard, Apple, and Oracle situated themselves in the same 46-square-mile area.
And as a result, top talent came in droves, real estate sky-rocketed, salaries rose, and those who could no longer afford the lifestyle fled.
But 2020 looks a little different for the Bay Area.
It took a worldwide pandemic to shake things up in a big way. With millions working from home to reduce the risk of transmitting the coronavirus disease, multi-billion-dollar companies are altering their remote work policies.
When it’s no longer a requirement to live in a major (and expensive) tech hub city, many employees are putting their whereabouts into question — but, where should employees move? We narrowed in on the 8 best cities for remote workers.
Vermont was an early-adopter in enticing remote workers to relocate to its state. They launched a Remote Worker Grant Program in January 2019 that would pay remote workers $10,000 over the course of two years if they made it their home state.
Despite the program halting acceptance into the program until further notice, that doesn’t make Burlington, Vermont any less viable as a prime remote work location.
Home to many state and national parks, there’s more to Vermont than maple syrup and dairy farms. Burlington, in particular, is a city built for remote workers with plentiful coffee shops, coworking spaces, and breweries all in the walkable distance around the city.
And your weekends will be spent well. Positioned on Lake Champlain and nestled in the Green Mountains, Burlington is a great spot for outdoor enthusiasts with plenty of kayaking, climbing, biking, and hiking opportunities in every direction. If you’re looking to escape the city smog for green mountains, but want to stay on the East Coast time zone, Burlington, Vermont could be the spot for you.
2. Boise, Idaho
Coworking spaces are emerging all over Idaho, and for a good reason. Topping many competitive lists as the best place to live in the U.S., Boise earns the reputation of being affordable, having a great work-life balance, and offering an abundance of outdoor activities.
If you’re into fishing, hiking, biking, kayaking, and skiing or snowboarding, Idaho has you covered. Beyond it’s access to natural beauty, the city’s walkability to hip coffee shops, free workspaces in libraries, and diverse restaurants make it a remote worker’s dream spot while on a budget.
You can’t mention Boise without boasting about its community — people are known to be incredibly friendly and genuine there, helping relax any newcomer jitters.
In order to maintain the standard of living of someone making the average annual income of $97K in San Francisco, California, you’d have to make $49,657 in Boise, Idaho. And, if you’re in Boise, try out the coworking spaces Wheelhouse and Trailhead.
For those who have experienced what Asheville has to offer, they’re not surprised it made the cut. This eclectic city has a strong foodie scene, captivating mountains, and beautiful seasons (most known for their vibrant fall).
Not to mention the infrastructure for working remotely in Asheville — there are plenty of coffee shops and coworking options to switch up your work environment. And there are a number of networking opportunities available around the city like Creative Mornings and 1 Million Cups.
Beyond all that is offered from the great outdoors, Asheville has a lively restaurant and boozy scene with a number of breweries and wine bars, and lot’s to offer in the arts like live music, art galleries, and exhibitions.
In order to maintain the standard of living of someone making the average annual income of $97K in San Francisco, California, you’d have to make $51,540 in Asheville, North Carolina.
Austin is not only known for its good food and live music but also it’s thriving entrepreneur, startup, tech, and remote work scene. For those who live in Austin and recently shifted to working from home due to COVID-19, 75% said that they have the same or better productivity working remotely.
Coffee shops like Monkey Nest Coffee, Wright Bros. Brew & Brew, and Radio Coffee & Beer are great spots to get your caffeine fix while getting your work done. And for an even quieter workspace, Austin offers many coworking space options like TechSpace, Switch Cowork, and Impact Hub Austin.
Weekends can be spent exploring the outdoors, or the nightlife and restaurant scene. And one of Austin’s biggest draws is it’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festivals, which celebrates creativity and professional growth in the interactive, film, and music industries (the next event is March 12-20, 2021).
In order to maintain the standard of living of someone making the average annual income of $97K in San Francisco, California, you’d have to make $54,327 in Austin, Texas.
There’s something about Colorado Springs that makes you feel at home — the strong community, great quality of life, and healthy lifestyle makes it a city hard to leave.
Just over an hour south of Denver, it’s budget-friendly housing, fast internet speeds (average of 168.5MBps), and plenty of weekend activities makes it a great fit for remote workers looking for a short-term or long-term spot. During the week, enjoy a coffee at Switchback Coffee Roasters or get your work done at a local coworking space like Epicentral Coworking.
And on the weekends, explore the Garden of the Gods or hike, cycle, or horseback ride around Manitou Springs. In order to maintain the standard of living of someone making the average annual income of $97K in San Francisco, California, you’d have to make $50,733 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Situated on the Northeast coastline and less than a four-hour drive from the Canadian border, Portland might not be the first city that comes to mind when you consider where to work remotely. But the charm and calmness of this city make it the perfect place to get your best work done.
Not only is Maine’s quality of life something to brag about, but its population of 66,000 residents also offers both an urban and suburban lifestyle without ever feeling overwhelmed by crowds or traffic.
You can look forward to the changes in every season in Maine. Hit the slopes in the winter, or hike the rocky coastline or green coastline in the warmer weather. During the week, work from the Portland Public Library, or the Cloudport coworking space. And grab a coffee from Little Woodfords or a juice from Blake Orchard Juicery to start your day on the right foot.
In order to maintain the standard of living of someone making the average annual income of $97K in San Francisco, California, you’d have to make $61,008 in Portland, Maine.
There’s a reason why digital nomads are flocking to Salt Lake City. The city offers affordable housing and beautiful landscapes. Work from one of the 30 coworking spaces like Work Hive, or try out a trendy coffee shop like Blue Copper Coffee.
Digital nomads boast about Salt Lake City being a top location due to its proximity to nature — downtown is only minutes away from the mountains. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced hiker, there are trails for you to explore. And for those who love to hit the slopes in the winter, there are nine ski resorts within an hour of the city.
If you’re more of a history buff or a theatre lover, there are plenty of museums and events to explore in and around the city too.
In order to maintain the standard of living of someone making the average annual income of $97K in San Francisco, California, you’d have to make $50,679 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
You can’t bring up Portland without mentioning the people. Portland is known to be home to inclusive and progressive, environmentally-friendly, and open-minded people.
Situated in the pacific northwest, Portland offers the comfortability of everything you need from a city with the coast or the mountains within driving distance. And Portland’s rail system makes the city incredibly accessible within the city — whether you’re looking to grab a cup of joe from one of the many coffee shops, or want to explore the city’s thriving food scene, it’s at arms reach.
As for workspaces, HatchLab is one of the top coworking spaces, and libraries allow you to work from their spaces for free. If you head to Portland, grab yourself an iconic Voodoo doughnut before work, or take a break to visit the world’s largest independent bookstore, Powell’s Books.
In order to maintain the standard of living of someone making the average annual income of $97K in San Francisco, California, you’d have to make $64,615 in Portland, Oregon. While on the higher end of your budget compared to the other cities on our list, there are plenty of free activities that Portland offers like brewery tours, gallery walks, and gardens to explore.
Are you looking to escape an expensive tech hub? We’d love to hear from you on what city you chose to relocate to.
Where to next? Find flexible month-to-month rentals across the globe on Anyplace.